Seeking What I Cannot See

When you said,
“Seek my face,”
my heart said to you,
“O Yahweh, I will seek your face.”

Do not hide your face from me.
Do not angrily turn me away.

Psalm 27: 8,9

I am the youngest in my family. Growing up, everyone else had a better vantage point than I did. Sometimes there was something in the distance that my siblings, Mom, or Dad spotted, but I would always miss out. For example, my brothers could spot wildlife on the side of the road, but I was always too slow to catch a glimpse.

As a child, I was limited by my height and attention span. For instance, when I was four, we went to Disneyland, and my brothers spotted a skywriting airplane. Everyone in my family tried to get me to look up in the sky and see the writing, but it was an exercise in futility. My parents got down to my level, turned my head to the sky, and tried to adjust my eye line, but they simply couldn’t get me to look in the right place. I never ended up seeing the writing in the sky.

As an adult with bipolar type 1, sometimes I can clearly sense God’s presence. However, when I deal with uncertainty and challenges, I struggle to perceive the Creator’s presence. Sometimes I am as observant as my older brothers when they would spot a bear in the forest, but other times, I am like a distracted kindergartener trying to spot a blue jay in the thicket moments after it flew away.

Psalm 27 is a lament that navigates our wavering ability to acknowledge the ubiquity of God. The selected verses from Psalm 27 ask us to reflect on the concept of seeking Yahweh. We are invited to imagine if Yahweh had a face. What if God looked away? What if we could not see the recognizable face of our Creator? What if we became worried that God could not see us?

When the Psalmist writes, “Do not hide your face from me, do not angrily turn me away,” it can evoke a sense of fear, anxiety, and panic. This psalm grapples with the distressing prospect of feeling isolated in our struggles. 

Psalm 27 is merely an expression of the anxiety that accompanies spiritual blind spots. Consider the struggles I had as a toddler following my family’s instructions. I never saw the birds, bears, and skywriting, but it doesn’t mean that they weren’t there. There was one problem: my view was blocked through various means. If you find that you are struggling to see the face of God, all that is needed is patience. Awareness of your Higher Power will come once the temporary obstacles to your perceptions fall away over time.

Yaweh, we struggle to see you. Provide us patience when our spiritual vision is obstructed. 

Seth Perry

Seth Perry

ELCA Pastor -Devotional Blogger- Mental Health Recovery Educator-Living Well with Bipolar Type 1


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A devotion. Sometimes it is hard to sense the presence of God. In this devotion I go back to my childhood. As a toddler I simply couldn't perceive the world in the same way my older brothers could. Now, as an adult I sometimes struggle to recognize the presence of the Divine.